Fleeing suspect plunges to his death behind Macon shopping center

lfabian@macon.comJune 5, 2013 

A man fleeing from Macon police dropped to his death in a ravine behind stores on Presidential Parkway shortly before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

As of late Wednesday, Bibb County Deputy Coroner Lonnie Miley said he could not yet release the identity of the man, who was believed to be from Warner Robins.

“At this point, I don’t know that anyone related to him is aware of his death,” Miley said after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Warner Robins police were not able to locate anyone at the address they had for the victim, Miley said.

Interim Macon Police Chief Mike Carswell said an officer on the midnight shift was checking businesses and found two suspicious men in a vehicle behind Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“At some point, both subjects attempted to flee. The white male subject was arrested and subdued. The black male continued to run and at some point he jumped over the fence behind these buildings,” Carswell said while on the scene behind Target.

The victim dropped down nearly 40 feet to the ground from the top of the fence, police said.

Officers initially indicated it was a drop of 50 to 60 feet, but it was difficult to know the exact distance in the dark before measurements were taken.

One Macon police officer was treated and released from the hospital after suffering injuries in the altercation, said Sgt. Melanie Hofmann, acting public information officer for the Macon Police Department.

An officer pepper sprayed the man who was taken into custody while the other ran and started climbing the fence, she said.

“The officer told him, ‘Don’t jump here, man,’” Hofmann said, because the officer knew of the dangerous drop.

The man went over the fence anyway, perhaps not realizing in the dark that the fence was bordering a concrete wall more than 30 feet tall.

By the time first responders could safely make their way down to him, he was dead, according to a Macon police news release.

The GBI will assist in the probe of the incident because the man was running away from an officer.

A Macon police Internal Affairs investigator was also called to the scene.

Macon-Bibb County firefighters and police stood by for at least three hours, presumably as evidence was collected and photographs were taken for the investigation.

The body was retrieved as of about 7:40 a.m.

Rescuers had to cut a hole in the chain link fence behind the shopping center so that crews could make their way down the steep drop.

They loaded the body into a Stokes rescue basket and several men pulled on a rope to bring it up the retaining wall.

Officers blocked the back alley behind the shopping center as the investigation and recovery effort was underway.

By 8:15 a.m., most of the crime scene tape was removed and trucks began making their deliveries as usual.

The portion of the tape that remained stitched together the break in the fence.

As of late Wednesday, Macon police had not released the identity of the other suspect, nor was it clear that any charges had been filed against him.

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